Wednesday, January 28, 2015

my heart

i am humbled that anyone comes to this place to read my little words. the purpose here has always been to be REAL and open with my heart. that usually means documenting my days with the underlying current that goes with them of who i REALLY am...a woman that's life gift is to be a mom...a mom that desires to show Jesus to her kids...and Jesus covering that woman and kids with His grace and love.

one day, i want my kids to be able to read these by day...and year by year...and know who their mom was...know why she did what she did...know Who she served and who she didn't...know the things that were TRUE in their childhood and what wasn't.

i hold myself to a high standard. in everything. it's not a strength of mine, it's a weakness. i never live up to the high expectations i put myself under and i'm trying to hand those over and let go of them. but they've pushed me along for as long as i can remember. it's hard to give something up, even if it's not the best thing for you.

i've been pretty worthless for quite a few days of the past 13 days after hearing of my friend losing her husband. the grief she is having to walk through is so deep. she knows her God and she praises Him still, but walking through this is unbelievably hard. i feel guilty coming home to my alive husband after spending time with her. i feel guilty having conversations with my kids about what they want their birthday cake to be when her conversations with her kids are about "what does 1st degree murder mean?" only rebekah and joshua know the whole story. bailey knows that Corey died. the little boys don't really know anything. yet they are ALL showing signs of it hitting their hearts also. rebekah has made them a note or some sweet thing nearly every day. bailey has slept in our room nearly every night. this world is so broken and i hate that my kids are seeing the cracks and crevices of the world they thought was stable and sure.

it is not my job to shield them from it all. it is my job to point them to Jesus amidst it all.

if i have a day where i let them watch tv all afternoon and can't carry on a conversation because i'm praying for ones i love that are hurting and can only heat up leftovers for dinner because i'm so tired after staying up all night with a grieving friend, i pray they see Jesus in that. maybe they see Jesus more clearly on a day like that than in the best-laid plans days, right?

my heart is heavy. but i'm laying that heavy heart at His feet over and over. i know He can carry it all. and He will. and i pray that my children glimpse His glory as we walk through these days...the hard ones and the beautiful ones {or are they the same?}

Friday, January 23, 2015

no more braces!

joshua got braces a year and a half ago. june of 2013. i've had a number of people ask me...because he is young to get them...if he'll have to get them again. NO he won't. he has an "old" mouth - already lost all his baby teeth and has his 12 year molars. this is IT.

this was right before he got them on...
the DAY he got them on...( looks so YOUNG!)
and earlier this week on the day he was getting them off...
all done! he's always had a beautiful smile...and this doesn't really make it any more beautiful to me, but it's good to have his teeth straight :-) we'll see how many more sets of braces we get to buy...

last reader!

when rebekah was about 2 1/2 years old, i was in a couple play groups with other moms and their toddlers and they started talking about preschool. like, waiting in lines at 5 am to get a spot in a preschool. for a YEAR from when they were signing up. i just couldn't EVEN. i couldn't even think about it. (nor did we really have the money). so...i made the decision at that point to just do preschool with her myself. i mean, i WAS a teacher, certainly i could teach her how to write her name and what the alphabet was? at the time, i wasn't making the decision for ALL our kids for ALL the years for our WHOLE life. just for rebekah when she was 3 years old. we have reevaluated with each kid each year, and just never felt like the added schedule and money was worth it for any of our kids to be in preschool.'s looked a little different with each kid, but i've "taught" preschool to each and every one. i will say, there is a preconceived idea with the elementary school that children that didn't go to preschool come into kindergarten NOT ready. but the kindergarten teacher that had EVERY single one of my kids has told me that they HAVE been ready (yay!)

levi has been working hard and he just might be the hardest kid i've taught (seriously). but he is making progress (trying to convince myself...)
i used this book with most of the kids (not lincoln. we were just trying to teach him how to speak ENGLISH! and bailey couldn't handle how boring it we did something else...wrote letters in glitter and such :-)) and i could not love it more. definitely a wise use of $15! i used the SAME book with all the kids!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

beginning of 2015

i've been horrible at keeping up here. i'm good. but life is sure hard and messy. i'm so very thankful for a God that i can cling to and KNOW without a doubt He is there...even when i can't feel Him.

it's been 2 weeks since i've really written.

the kids were back in school 1 day after christmas break...and then it snowed.

on the first snow day, i was in the shower begging God to help me to love them well, and feeling overwhelmed because on these days when they are all home "all of a sudden" and i don't have a plan, i feel like the day just goes by in survival mode and i don't REALLY connect with any of them even though i'm with them for a whole day. God is SO good...when i pray to specifically connect with any of my kids, He ALWAYS answers. and He did. He told me to have a "date" with each of them that day...just 15-30 minutes, but one on one with each of them.

so i made it a semi-big deal. we passed the date sheet around the breakfast table and they signed up for a time slot. they got to pick what we did...but it had to be AT OUR HOUSE and FREE (game, color, just talk :-))
levi chose a game..
 so did lincoln.
 rebekah just wanted to talk :-)
 sawyer wanted to build a snowman (loved his creativity and thinking outside the box!) the snow wasn't the kind that would build a snowman...and it was SUPER windy and cold, so we didn't last long, but we did have fun!
 bailey wanted to create...

 and joshua wanted to play a game. (and not be pictured :-))
 it ended up being such a nice day!!

sundays are for being close...
 new week. new snow day :/ we don't have a small home...but they are usually always this close together. i love it.
 these 2. they do NOT get along. hardly ever. but they asked to bake together and it made my heart SOO happy!!
 he DEVOURS his sport illustrated for kids as soon as he gets his hands on it!
 2 hour delay..see *all* that snow?? :-) we all walked the elementary kids to school...that was fun! it's just so hard for me to feel on top of anything with snow days and delays...hence the quiet here...
i'm preparing another talk. panera is my place. i just can't seem to think complete thoughts in my own house. any tips on that?? i just buy a tea, but that adds up...
 one of her chores is to run 3 miles once a week. i run with her. win-win-win! i love our conversations. and i love pushing her. i pray knowing she CAN do something she didn't think she could boosts her confidence in herself.
 this past thursday morning, i woke up to a friend trying to reach me in the middle of the night. never good news. it was THE worst news imaginable...
 spent every spare minute (which in our lives isn't many!) cleaning out our basement and storage room this past weekend. i mean...rebekah :-) my first baby...
 got to take the youngs out for their birthday dinner on saturday night!! peyton and i were twins :-) (and it's the last time i think we'll go to that restaurant...all of pat's dinner came back up all night long...SAD!)
 and doubly sad because i had to take the kids to church by myself on sunday morning. and sit through the most beautiful and awful church service i've ever been to. denise's husband was killed on thursday night by a gunman. they'd been married 3 months. she has lived through SO much heartache and pain since i met her 14 years ago. it's just hard to imagine how she can live through this. but she is. she was at church on sunday morning...hands lifted STRAIGHT up to Jesus as we sang, "Christ is enough for me"...she is so so strong. but can use ALL the prayers she can get (and her kids. and his kids. oh, it's rocked me to the core....) for more on the story, google "corey mattison"...
 rebekah and joshua were the baking duo for this creation. it was all for Pat. i'm not sure the reason...but i think it might have something to do with the above story...

and this morning was back to school...but only for 2 hours for joshua...then he got his braces off!! we'll see how many more cassada kids have to get them...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

christmas 2014...again!

 we went to my parents house this past saturday to celebrate christmas with my WHOLE family. it was amazing. my parents house was all decked out in christmas (still!) and they fed us an amazing dinner and gifted with us with the most perfect, thoughtful gifts and just allowed us to all have an amazing time together.
 bailey made necklaces for the ladies. her heart is so generous. always making and doing for others.
a lot of these pictures are from my mom's taken by my mom, dad and sister in law, christy! i adore this picture. because we almost all of us "siblings" are in it (except pat) - my brother phill, me, hannah, christy (phill's wife), john (hannah's husband) and my other brother, steve. oh, how i love them!!
 there are a LOT of pictures of laughter. how fun is that?!?
 lingering over dinner after the kids ate and ran off to play :-)
 someone has a baby bump ;-) ahhh!!!
 i love my brother's REAL smiles and laughter.
she got a wheelchair from us for her American Girl doll...and crutches from grandma and papa! she was SO excited!!!
i'm already the most obnoxious that baby that's growing in my sister's belly gifts before i can even hold it!

 just TRY not to smile when you look at this picture...oh, my heart could just BURST!

and this was a "i already have my coat on and i'm walking out the door...quick, pat, take a picture of hannah and i" picture. it was dark and grainy but, thanks to editing, it's one i will treasure!
it was such a great evening! we were there from 4:30 - 11 pm!! it's so nice to be at a place where we can do that with our kids! {we all admittedly were tired and cranky the next day...but it was worth it!!}

and christmas 2014 is done. what an amazing way to finish it off!